Categories
Uncategorized

“I’m an old man…

“I’m an old man, broken in health and cast down in spirit. As to the charges standing against me, through unpublished statements, I’ve received some assurance that the vindication of principle and purifying of the public service are purposes you would have me serve. Recognizing further resistance as a futility, offering unqualified surrender and supplicating mercy, I herewith submit my testimony

Boss Tweed

Categories
Uncategorized

Engagement and Isolation

I have come away from social media for a time. 

I am finding it surprising how much more time I have, for something that is essentially voluntary and free. I think, for me, a lot of it was it’s very efficient at giving you that jolt of recognition and connection like a rush of sugar but I wonder if it actually adds to your isolation. It certainly did to mine, sifting for interesting tweets and links with the same fervour that a porn addict has. I am not saying I won’t go back, but for now, it’s good to just come away from it a bit. 

Most of the people who you interact with won’t especially notice you’re gone, unless the friendship is sustainable away from that. The internet creates a lot of acquaintances, digital interactions that have all the appearance of friendship but nothing of the depth. That isn’t to say I do not enjoy it, but I want some time on my own, this aside. 

It’s about giving space to yourself, some time alone in the digital sense so that you can figure things out for yourself. I have to learn to be less passive about such things and then when I do engage, it will be on a more assertive, engaging level than previously. I want to have things to say and show people, rather than sharing posters that express an opinion that I want people to think I have. 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Meditation, Failure and Determination

Meditation used to be something I sneered at. It felt like an affectation, a practice that was more to do with telling people that you did it and actually doing it. 

Now I feel it’s an essential part of my day. It’s not at a set time, or a set place and I do use guided meditations because there are things that I want my subconscious to focus on, so that I can handle other things consciously. I believe in it because it gives me focus and calms me so that I am more effective in doing things. Also it feels really good, there are sessions that are tough and I come away feeling futile but they’re part of the process. 

Failure happens, but only if you decide that it’s a reason to stop then it actually is failure. I know NLP comes in for a lot of criticism but I found it useful in a few ways, and some of the precepts it has are really useful. I like to look at models of success and achievement, one of whom is MMA fighters, particularly those in the UFC and I was listening to a podcast interview with Brendan Schaub, and one of the things he said was about potential fighters who needed a pep talk, in that if they did, they shouldn’t be fighting. 

I get down about things sometimes, but I know it’s just fear and anxiety making themselves known when I don’t harness them to a particular process. Every day though, I write and I read. I have cut back on television and gaming, more and more as time goes on. I am not limiting myself to culture, but I am developing and honing myself because the better work I produce, the better I feel and as a consequence I find it all the more appealing to write and create. 

So I meditate on my writing, visualising it as my career, I have images and auditory pictures that I visualise as part of that process. I have not written as a view to anything more than expressing myself on the page, it’s not the ‘being a writer’ that drives me, it’s ‘having written’ and knowing that I have finished things that empowers me to keep going. I want to get better at it but I know that I never will master it. If you’re always hungry, pushing at the edge of your fear, then the work you will produce will always reflect that. I used to read and marvel at the magic of words on the page but from there, I know now that I was reading someone who had written vastly more than I had. What I know now is that the work will come if you can keep doing it. 

This could serve as a meditation. 

Categories
Uncategorized

Ambition, Recuperation and Pragmatism

Took a day off from the writing yesterday, today was tough and I was easily distracted because it’s close to the end of the book and a degree of exhaustion kicks in, as well as the concern that I have missed anything out. I worry about these things even though I have subsequent drafts to perfect the holes and mistakes. When I was freed by the knowledge that I can and should polish it up, it became more about resisting the impulse to ‘show’ I am writing. I am productive and the work comes no matter what else I am doing.

I feel pleased that it is done. I have a daily goal of two pages a day, it’s low enough to remove the pressure and it keeps me productive in terms of the time I can allocate to it realistically. It causes problems if I spend all day online and it means that I can always be writing. It’s not an original conceit, I read about it in Four Hour Body and it was fundamentally useful in building up a writing practice. The career stuff is something I think about with a degree of pragmatism. How can I get better at saying the things I want to say and build an audience for that material? I visualize, I write and read everyday so I am working on aligning the things that please me in the short term with long term attractions and enticements. The process of having a process, a purpose and connecting that to the things that give me joy. I want to be good, if not great and being competent as an ongoing thing that helps make it happen for me.

Talking about ambition is something that I don’t do very often, it’s vaporware until I have something that you can put in your hands or download to your device but I plan and practice for it.

I am tempted to talk about process, how I read books as a writer, as much to get them out of my head as to talk about them. I know no one’s reading and that’s quite freeing in itself. This is a conversation but I’m not sharing everything with you.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Sometimes life throws up surprises

It’s delightful, minimalist yet luxuriant and evocative. A mournful romanticism that really stayed with me. I heard it as it’s on the trailer for The Leftovers, the HBO series about people post-rapture and it was a beautiful piece of music.

Categories
Uncategorized

Cleaning Away Ghosts

You have to endure it.

It’s in the way that your hands,

Never quite feel clean for a while,

The weight of dirt beneath the nails,

The thin coat of something smooth and malign,

But you breathe through it.

Let it pass through, honour it but let it return to the universe.

Set the ghost of your action free.

Then you can begin to feel clean again.

Stringing together moments of clarity again,

A chain of flowers, staining your fingertips with joy.

And when you wear it,

You need never take it off.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Immaturity

Immaturity is like carbon monoxide, invisible and omnipresent. I have suffered from it, still do unless I have done the conscious work of being present in mature masculinity. In my view, it is the root cause of much of feminist criticism of men, and once you can get past your reflex, you can relax and see their point. It is the deceit, the rage of the rape threat delivered as casually as a ‘pass the salt’ in any online interaction. 

When I say mature masculine, it isn’t necessarily a silent, stoic individual with a beard and callused hands, but it’s more internally referenced than that. It is, for me, about empathy and consideration with a degree of detachment. It’s not about throwing tantrums, as satisfying as that can be but it’s hollow and futile ultimately. You can feel the pull of ‘right’ action, a principle that I think of as taoist but really it’s universal in terms of pragmatism and spirituality for me. 

Of course it could be my filters, it probably is, but I’ve had the benefit of situations where I have been called on it and challenged, even punished for it internally and externally. I know that I still have a long way to go but I keep trying. It’s that process that keeps me humble and noble. 

I am not frightened of women expressing their strength, it would be a relief to share some of the burden that patriarchy puts on us. Not that I think patriarchy is an organised system of oppression, I think it comes about through an absence of reflection and contemplation, a failure of empathy that is not deliberate in any way. 

Categories
Uncategorized

Breathing Through Pain

It’s easy to lock up, stiffen and resist the pain that you go through. It is not however conducive to growth or resolution, you have to soften and accept it, let it pass through you. You can bear it, the pain, especially if you are responsible for it. You made the decision, you live with it and you do so honourably. Part of being a good man, or not being a bad man is acceptance of that. Endurance and acceptance leads to resolution and then to ascension.

Hopefully. The thing is, you cannot predict or confirm that you will be received or accepted in this. All you can do is try and know that you might fail. But then, failure is only feedback that you aren’t listening to.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Struggling With Goodness

People will believe you’re not capable of change. And sometimes those changes have pain or fear as a midwife rather than the positive, present type which we should all aspire to. You have to hope that it’s not too late, that you’ve not done too damage. A friend of mine takes the view that there is yin and yang, that the universe balances out and your karmic debt determines the level of punishment that you receive. I am trying to do good, not repressing anything but accepting that there are limits that I choose to have. We all do, not in the sense that there is a rich vein of horror to be mined in pursuit of whatever gets us off, but in the decisions we make, both in the past and how it impacts on the present. I made the best decision available to me at the time, I know that as I grow and understand myself, I will make better decisions from a wider variety of options. I struggle with goodness, but I practice it at every opportunity.

Categories
Uncategorized

Boredom as the eighth deadly sin

I am doing my best, accepting the consequences of my actions and realizing that I can only forgive myself. I have written today, as I do every day because it is my purpose and the more that I align my life around it, the happier I am. It serves as sword and shield for me in the face of a few conflicts.

That came from a few places, really.  A breakdown, a realization of how unhappy and bored I was, a failure to address some issues that still keeps biting me on the arse, and although it’s been tough, it’s been worthwhile. I’ve been through some rough times lately, of my own making and I am working on myself so that I don’t make those same mistakes again.

Boredom ought to be the eighth deadly sin. It damns enough of us, if we do not address it.